What is the most important act of a transformational leader? Without question it is the leader who can communicate vision with a forward-thinking mindset.
My first professional experience with a transformational leader began when I accepted a very challenging position to lead a small advertising sales team in a down economy. Although I had worked in the industry for over ten years, my experience did not prepare me for the challenge of inspiring my team during a severe recessionary environment. Being the person who is ultimately responsible for achieving results, I was acutely aware of the pressures associated with my role. In addition to managing and dividing sales territories amongst the team, establishing targets and budgets, reporting regularly to senior management, my greatest challenge was not only about reaching sales goals. The true test of my leadership acumen came in the form of managing a diverse team of high achievers, including my predecessor who was “demoted” to make room for me.
Fortunately, my manager possessed an extraordinary strength of character, and a raw openness in a leadership role that I admired greatly. Above all else, he not only understood my vulnerabilities and fears, he was able to create an environment of high trust. I was able to discuss my own challenges regarding the individual and collective performance of my team with ease. And it was in this role that I learned the difference between transactional and transformational leadership. A transactional leader has a preference for staying in the status quo, going about his or her day-to-day responsibilities while giving minimal consideration to the purpose of it all. The relational aspect of individual and team performance is secondary to results. A transformational leader is the opposite. My manager exemplified the qualities of a transformational leader: Specifically, he led with vision and an uncompromising dedication to the success of his team. He demonstrated a genuine belief me, communicated on a daily basis while remaining acutely interested and invested in the outcomes of every sales encounter.
When I reflect on this example, it also serves to remind me that a transformational leader has the ability to create an internal passion within the organization that is felt by all. Leaders are in a position to profoundly impact and the atmosphere, either positively or negatively. Therefore, it is incumbent on a leader to understand the extent of his or her influence, if he or she is to have success in helping the enterprise achieve a strategic advantage in its respective marketplace/industry.
When you become THE transformational leader who can lead with vision, ignite passion and create a sought-after culture, your team will thrive and your organization will continue to flourish for future success.
Michelle Ray (Twitter) is one of the best international leadership keynote speakers in Vancouver. She helps you discover your potential through presentations, coaching and consulting. With over 20 years of experience Michelle has worked with hundreds of companies around the world. She is taking bookings for speaking engagements and can be contacted at MichelleRay.com